Happy Friday! Each week, Friday Thrive rounds up noteworthy running articles for discussion. Here’s what I enjoyed reading this week:
Run, Write, Repeat
Runners have a propensity for writing, as evidenced by the proliferation of running blogs and magazine and events such as Lauren Fleshman’s running-and-writing Wilder retreat. This Runner’s World article, “Pros Share 3 Ways Writing Can Make You a Better Runner” examines how writing about your running can help you achieve your goals. I maintain training logs in both virtual form (this blog) and handwritten form, and I really do believe journaling about workouts can give perspective, sharpen focus, and inspire you to dream big.
Exercise Gives Your Endorphins. Endorphins Make You Happy.
Anecdotally, runners will tell you that running makes them happy – and now, research is supporting the connection between physical activity and a cheerful mood. Past research focused more on how exercise reduces depression and anxiety; the New York Times summarizes studies that look at the positive correlation of exercise and happiness in the article “Even a Little Exercise Might Make Us Happier.” The study found that even 10 minutes a couple times per week boosted mood – but more frequent exercisers reported even higher levels of happiness.
(Name the movie that features the quote in the subheading.)
Brain Training that Fits Your Training Plan
By now, the notion that psychological factors affect performance is not novel. The most successful runners – whether on a large scale or personal level – possess a strong mental game. This interesting article from Triathlete divides brain training into similar periods of training as you follow in your running plan – base, race specific, and sharpening/taper. The length of the periods are longer than most runners use due to the nature of the triathlon, but it is certainly a concept that could be applied to a 12 or 16 week training plan.
Playing with Speed
Fartleks are one of my favorite multi-purpose workouts. I love them for introducing speedwork, providing an effort-based alternative to the track, and shaking up the monotony of marathon training. Typically, I prescribed structured fartleks to my athletes and run them myself – but the idea of unstructured workouts intrigues me (and intimidates me a bit, because I do like structure). In this article on Strength Running, Jason Fitzgerald breaks down the purpose of fartleks and how to incorporate both structured and unstructured fartleks into your training.
Do you prefer structured or unstructured workouts?
Do you keep a paper training log or training journal?